As a tidal wave of Americans look to Ted Cruz as the only hope for avoiding a Trump nomination, many Jews are also reassessing their approach to Mr. Cruz. Jews who in the past were reluctant to express their support for Senator Cruz, are finding themselves looking at him in an increasingly favorable light.
As someone who stood with Cruz from early on, I am reminded of an episode that took place in September, 2014. Cruz was attending a fundraiser for Christians in the Middle East that was hosted primarily by Arab Christians. Cruz began to speak about the importance of religious tolerance and protecting religious minorities. Cruz went on to say that Israel is an example of a mistreated religious minority in the Middle East and how it struggled with religious intolerance from its very inception. When Cruz mentioned Israel, some Arabs in the audience started booing. They clearly didn’t know Cruz. The more they booed, the more he emphasized how firmly he stood with Israel. This did not stop them from booing here and there. At that point Mr. Cruz said something has been carved in my mind ever since then; he said “if you cannot stand with the Jews and with Israel, then I will not stand with you.” After saying that Cruz walked off the stage. This unforgettable moment, was to me a historical moment. Never in American history has someone said “if you can’t stand with Israel and the Jews, I will not stand with you.”
Ever since then, whenever I hear discussions about Cruz and the Jews, my mind goes back to that moment. The Talmud teaches us (Ethics of the fathers, 1:17) “it is not what is studied that is most important, but it is what is done and practiced that is most important.” Mr. Cruz has not just stood with the Jews in word, but indeed as well. In the summer of 2014 during operation Protective Edge, the FAA announced a ban on flights going to Israel. This was considered a great economic and public policy threat to Israel; it would be strong leverage for Hamas in any cease fire talks and would force Israel into compromises that are against its best interest. Again, Ted Cruz stood up and said publicly that the Obama administration was using the FAA to hurt Israel. The State Department issued a sharp denial of the allegation – a denial Shakespeare would describe as “”The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Sure enough, almost immediately thereafter the FAA lifted its ban on Israel. Again, Cruz showed to stand with Israel in word – and in action.
Finally and most importantly – the Iran deal. A majority of Americans – and Israelis – agree that the Iran deal was a bad idea. The deal would grant legitimacy to Iran’s long term weaponized nuclear program, give it more than 100 billion dollars in funding and allow it to continue developing its Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles. While other Republicans did speak out against the deal, again, it was Ted Cruz who took action against it. In addition to rallying against the deal in every possible forum, Senator Cruz forced the State Department to release its findings on Iranian involvement with terror; something that highlighted Iran’s great deal of involvement with terror and exposed the great flaws in the deal.
The Jewish people have always been a people of gratitude. Thousands of years later, we remember King Cyrus, Alexander the Great and other great leaders who have stood with us when we needed them most. This time, let’s all stand with Ted Cruz. For the sake of strong past and for the sake of an ever better future for the American people.
Published in the Florida Sun Sentinel, March 14th, 2016